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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

MARXIST    HISTORY

thing—it reveals itself as having recognisable pro-
cesses ; and we can see how the destinies of man are
anchored to very tangible things. In other .words, we
learn about man by learning how he is conditioned; and
material conditions are no doubt reducible to law in
some degree, whether die Marxist has properly formu-
lated the laws or not.

If in this sense we give consideration to anything
which purports to be an interpretation of history,
however—an interpretation of the kind which claims
to provide us in advance with a clue to the study of
historical processes—it is a thing to be taken with
refinement and subtlety and imagination, and it must
never blind us to the complexity of the interactions that
take place in history. Such an interpretation—including
the Marxian attempt to invert what had been held by
the " idealists "—has its place in so far as it gives us an
inclination in the right direction when we come to the
study of history. No interpretation of this kind could
be justified if it pretended to answer the problems of
historical enquiry in advance. In this sense a materialist
interpretation is useful in so far as it is the definition of
the right kind of feeling to have at the beginning of an
enquiry, a hint as to the right end of the stick to pick
up, a guide to the predisposition with which to approach
an unimaginably complicated collection of data. It
should be refined into a mere subtlety of feeling, an
inclination in the right direction, a feeling for realities,
a disposition to see the evidence when it is there. In the
kst resort it is a mere sense that everything in history
is curiously fastened to the earth; and this is the teal

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